Gov. Rick Snyder’s Emergency Manager Is Denying Poor People Running Water In Detroit


It is likely that most Americans have a difficult time comprehending what drives certain individuals to purposely create intolerable suffering for other human beings. In fact, the majority of Americans can hardly understand, much less tolerate, cruelty to animals and would rush to report animal abuse to groups like the Humane Society to intervene in the animals’ behalf. It is a sad fact of life that there is no humane society to report abuse of human beings, or the Republican Party would face investigations for a litany of human abuse complaints and it is likely why they blatantly abuse Americans with impunity. However, there is a world organization monitoring human rights violations and a group of Americans appealed to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights to intervene on behalf of poor American citizens who have lost a fundamental human right in any country in the world.

Last Wednesday, a coalition working working with organizations and activists the world over to promote water as a basic human right filed a report with, and appealed to, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights on behalf of tens-of-thousands of poor Detroit residents who are being denied access to what any civilized human being would consider a basic human right; running water. The report filed with the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation alleges the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) shut off water for tens-of-thousands of residents who are 60 days delinquent on their bills.

It is important to remember that the purpose behind Governor Rick Snyder and Michigan’s Republican legislature in passing Snyder’s “emergency manager” abomination that was rejected by voters was to sell off Detroit to privatization. Despite voters’ abhorrence and rejection of Snyder’s plan to appoint dictators and abolish democracy in financially struggling areas, Republicans passed “emergency manager” legislation in a lame duck session less than three weeks after voters said rejected the idea at the polls. Snyder defended the move and said, “These new laws recognize and respect the needs of citizens and will deliver meaningful reforms to keep Michigan on the path to prosperity.” Apparently, access to safe water is not part of Michigan Republicans’ idea of the “needs of citizens,” especially poor citizens, but it is “the path to prosperity” for whichever corporation Detroit’s emergency manager gives the water delivery system to.

One of the groups lending their voice to the report to the U.N. Human Rights Commission noted that as Detroit’s poverty rate rose to 40%, water rates doubled and put the cost of basic running water out of the reach of tens-of-thousands of households. To make matters worse, the Detroit lawmaker just raised water rates by nearly 9% to both appeal financially to a private enterprise and affect even more low-income households, but not commercial clients. According to “The People’s Water Board,” businesses that are delinquent on their water bills “have not been targeted in the same way as residential users.”

The DWSD said they do not discriminate in terms of individuals or businesses, and boasted that “Last month we shut off about 3,600 accounts that were $150 or 60 days in arrears. That is our policy and we’re ramping up our enforcement of that policy.” However, out of 165,000 delinquent accounts facing the prospect of losing access to water, less than 11,000 are commercial or industrial clients that average more than $7,700 in arrears. Residential clients are losing their water over $150, or 60 days, delinquency. In fact, non-residential clients account for half of delinquent bills in spite of accounting for less than 7% of total delinquencies.

The city, or better yet, the emergency “manager” is aggressively seeking to privatize the water delivery system that was the drive to bankrupt Detroit in the first place. The emergency manager appointed by Governor Snyder, Kevin Orr began seeking private bids back in March with submission end date this month. Experts and analysts were stunned at the fast track to privatization they claim is too costly and too damaging to residents and cited examples of residents’ suffering higher water and sewer rates, poorer service, and the ill-effects of administrative dysfunction. It is what ALEC alumnus Snyder considers meeting the “residents’ needs” and “the path to prosperity” for the corporation that “buys” the right to deliver water to those who can afford it, and it appears more residents will lose the basic human right to water.

It is pathetic that the richest nation on Earth cannot provide all its citizens with a basic human right that is as key to sustaining life as nutrition. One of the coalition members that appealed to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the Council of Canadians Maud Barlow said, “We are asking the UN special rapporteur to make clear to the U.S. government that it has violated the human right to water.” Barlow also said that besides creating international pressure to stop the Detroit dictator (emergency manager) from withholding water from residents, the United Nation’s intervention could lead to formal consequences for the United States. She said, “If the US government does not respond appropriately this will also impact their Universal Periodic Review when they stand before the Human Rights Council to have their human rights record evaluated.” Two months ago, the U.N. Human Rights Committee condemned (Section 19) the United States for criminalizing homelessness they called “cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment” and a violation of America’s obligation to adhere to international human rights treaties.

It is a deplorable state of affairs when the country most likely to condemn other nations for human rights abuses is once again the target of United Nations human rights violations. Having access to something as fundamentally basic as clean running water should not be determined by a family’s income level or rate increases meant to appeal to a prospective corporation’s bottom line. However, this is America and more specifically, it is an ALEC Republican-controlled state violating its own citizens most basic human rights.

This country was once a leader in human rights, but when Americans elected an African American man as President, Republicans made this country in the image of third world countries that treat their citizens like so much refuse. What is happening in Detroit portends the condition of the entire nation if Republicans, teabaggers, and libertarians have their way. Because if basic human rights are exclusive to those who can afford them, it will not be long until privatization-minded Republicans put water in the same category as basic healthcare on the national level; a privilege for those with the means to afford it when the rest of civilization considers it a fundamental human right.

24 Replies to “Gov. Rick Snyder’s Emergency Manager Is Denying Poor People Running Water In Detroit”

  1. Why would anybody living in a city need water, anyway, except for cooking, bathing, watering their gardens and window boxes, you know, things people expect to be able to do in cities? What the hell is wrong with the city management?

  2. So very sad that a few idiots can cause so much damage and still claim to be Christian. Teapublican party needs to be gone.

  3. So continues our descent in to third world status. We used to be the one to save other countries, but who will save us from ourselves? When you privatize water supplies you have basically said that those who can afford it will live, those who cannot won’t. Might as well privatize breathing too. Oh, I forgot pretty soon the air won’t be worth breathing.

  4. Read about that earlier and all I have to say is, this is a violation of human rights to deny people water. On top of that they are not turning off water for past due bills for industry.

    We have talked about the quisling Kevin Orr in the past and I hope he chokes on his 30 pieces of silver in the near future.

    People of Michigan wake up!! Just because its the darkies that’s feeling the pain don’t think you are not next to be led to the shower

  5. Let’s remember going forward that just like we cannot mention the bush administration anymore, by the same token they can no longer mention the democrats who have ran Michigan In the past . Saving Detroit is the governor’s job.

    Privatization is the quickest way to bury the city and turn it into a battle ground. Precisely what the GOP wants, as they already have so many people in Michigan blaming the poor for all their problems

  6. Watch closely folks. Snyder is heralded by everyone from Sarah Palin to Ted Cruz as an example of where our nation needs to be heading and how we should be getting there. This is the Tea Party vision for America, a grand experiment in Randian philosophy. Just one problem that psycho beeotch Ayn Rand never contemplated from her ivory tower, and that is that in a society that endorses every man/woman for themselves, the rich will rapidly find their well coiffed and botoxed heads on pikes and the poor ( but physically strong from years of actual labor ) enjoying life in their former castles. A French style slaughter of the wealthy is long over due in this country, and the only thing that will remind the inbred trash of the 1% that the rest of us will only put up with just so much of their crap before we snap and take them out.

  7. On the brightside the republicans are facing devistating defeats in a wholsale slaught in the coming elections in November. The republican reign of terror in Michigan will come to an end.

  8. Maybe everyone who’s water was turned off in Detroit should defecate & urinate on the front lawn of the Governors mansion, to send a message to Rick (Koch lover) Snyder.

  9. The governor took the voters power away & installed a ‘city manager'(dictator) to make those decisions. Look it up and read more about it.

  10. And before too long we will be hearing from the white suburban haters. They will say it’s okay with them.

  11. $90.33 per month water bills for Detroit residents. Maybe it is because there isn’t enough water left in the Great Lakes which is the source of all Detroit water.

  12. Its oblivious other countries are watching where this country is heading thanks to the so called teaparty, which in history will be viewed as a extreme human rights violation, where has this country gone, and just who are they trying to impress, can you imagine anyone being forced to go without water because a repig doesn’t like you living in poverty. I say to Snyder fix this you asshole.

  13. I see Hunger Games coming to a city near you … and you (where the rich have everything and the poor are put into ghettos). Republicans are great at using the Concentration Camp scenario when it comes to President Obama and our liberties. But they are actively trying to put all the middle-class and poor in ghettos by taking away all their basic rights. I never thought I’d hear that Americans would have no access to water – and this screams unfair when they are doing nothing about their industrial customers.

  14. What is it going to take to GET RID OF SNYDER??? The rethugs have stolen all of the the assets Now they are going after the water dept to be taken over by more rehugs and corporate masters.

  15. I say this with all seriousness, once Detroit’s water goes private, if your credit score isn’t up to par, expect to be rejected for service or pay astronomical fees to open accounts in your name.

    The greed displayed in Michigan and other Republican controlled states floors me,(including Texas where I live and will soon have to pay to use every highway in the state)

  16. Nothing like turning off the water on a poor populace to pay for more tax cuts for big greedy corporations!

  17. This is just the beginning it is going to get much worse for the poor. It looks like according to recent polling that the nation is willing to give the right another shot(Yikes!). The Democrats hold on the senate majority is looking grim and the house is a pipe dream for progressives. Looks like president Obama better invest in a good pen set because he will be doing a lot vetoing. Conservatives have the commons(what little is left)on the ropes and they smell blood. When a conservative mentions privatization understand it means more for the rich and nothing for you.

  18. Maybe the people of Michigan are tired of paying for the mismanaged Democratic city. Pay your bills or get no service.

    Americans use to take pride in their work and now liberals teach that they should take pride in taking tax payers dollars for doing nothing.

  19. Hey dummy, remember we cant mention Bush? Well Michigan belongs to the republicans. And they are failing fast

    Americans do take pride in their work, its the republicans in Michigan that want to pay you nothing. Seen the no overtime bill in their congress?

    Sorry, your cliches are meaningless

  20. Who! Back up! The Dem’s mismanaging Detroit for the last 40+ years own this entire debacle. Not the Republicans.

  21. Sorry. Just like Bush is not responsible for any of our current problems, Detroit and all of Michigan are GOP tea bag problems

    The Dems didnt drive out GM,Chrysler and Ford jobs, causing the city to break down, but your emergency manager has crushed Detroit. Own it

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